Clarkston Consulting
Skip to content

Phygital Marketing Strategies: The Critical Intersection of Physical and Digital Marketing

Phygital marketing represents the fusion of physical and digital marketing tactics, seamlessly integrating in-person and online interactions into a unified marketing approach. In this piece, we’re exploring phygital marketing strategies and how brands can find success at this critical intersection of physical and digital marketing. 

What is Phygital Marketing? 

While the advent of social media, eCommerce, and internet advertising underscores the importance of digital strategies, a CSA survey reveals that 91% of respondents still prefer conducting at least half of their shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.  

Opting for solely digital or physical strategies risks alienating customers on either front. Instead of viewing each of these approaches individually, the emergence of phygital marketing offers a compelling opportunity for each strategy to complement one another thereby amplifying your customer outreach and engagement. 

How does phygital marketing enhance traditional marketing methods? 

Enhanced customer data analysis 

Phygital marketing has potential for a greater amount of customer data analysis than physical marketing alone can offer. For out-of-home advertising methods like billboards, understanding their marketing success relies entirely on surveys and estimations, which may not provide a full picture of the ad’s reach. Phygital marketing may not be able to reach the same number of viewers as a billboard on a busy road can, but businesses can gather more specific data on what type of customers are seeing the product information. 

Many brands have been utilizing QR codes to encourage and track customer engagement. Dove has an abundance of large product QR codes in public venues, attracting attention and encouraging customers to scan and learn more about brand offerings. Dove is then able to track what type of customers are engaging with the QR codes, expanding its data analysis beyond what passive advertising offers. 

Personalized customer interactions 

On the other hand, phygital marketing also expands upon only digital marketing strategies through personalized and experience-based customer interactions. Digital marketing alone can reach a significant customer base through platforms like social media, but it lacks the personal touch that phygital marketing can provide.  

Phygital marketing’s creation of a seamless transition between physical and digital touchpoints without interruption could establish the most effective marketing strategy: more individualized content. Companies can learn from browsing and purchasing data what each customer’s preference are and then send ads for related items they may be interested in. 

Personalized customer interactions can also continue on-site using phygital marketing strategies. Sephora introduced Color IQ technology that relies on artificial intelligence to enhance their in-store experience. This system can scan customer faces and help them find appropriate product matches, increasing customer purchase satisfaction and reducing the burden of product matching that’s often placed on sales associates. Providing this individualization creates a unique and convenient shopping experience that can encourage customer loyalty. 

Reduced ad fatigue 

An overwhelming number of digital ads can cause customers to experience ad fatigue which can reduce the effectiveness of all advertisements. Phygital marketing strategies can create a more engaging experience, reducing the potential of being overwhelmed with constant passive advertising while also boosting brand memorability.  

Nordstrom has leaned into the role of social media in today’s shopping world to establish a unique form of advertising. Nordstrom has been running live streams on social media, allowing customers to learn about available clothing, see it in action on the streamers, and then purchase their favorites directly from the live stream. This creates an interactive purchasing experience that engages customers and reduces the burden on in-person retail staff. 

Customer flexibility and minimized retail pressures 

Customers are now drawn more than ever to immersive experiences. Phygital marketing can help keep customers engaged while reducing pressures on maintaining consistent physical interactions. Customers can engage with digital strategies such as QR codes, allowing them to interact with materials but also allowing for data collection of engagement levels and dominant customer segments. This presents an opportunity for a blend of the most effective components of physical and digital marketing strategies, providing a variety of ways for customers to interact with brands. 

For example, Reformation has been blending digital and physical shopping experiences to reduce pressures on retail staff. They have provided tablets in their storefronts to mirror the online shopping experience, as customers can use the tablets to investigate products they’re interested in. Because customers can learn virtually what the products are like, Reformation is able to keep fewer products stocked in store. This reduces supply chain pressures and frees up the retail associates for more in-person interactions with customers. It also allows customers a choice between more virtual or more personal interaction when in the store. 

Finding Success with Phygital Marketing

Transitioning to a phygital presence can revolutionize your company’s marketing and customer interaction strategy. Yet, several key considerations should guide this evolution. 

Firstly, tailor your phygital marketing strategy to align with your business model. For eCommerce ventures, integrating pop-up stores can enhance customer engagement, while traditional retailers may utilize digital tools like QR codes to invigorate the in-store experience. Additionally, understanding customer preferences is paramount for crafting personalized shopping journeys. 

Secondly, harness the power of social media to amplify your phygital presence. Social platforms serve as dynamic bridges between offline and online interactions, offering a vast audience reach and interactive potential. Social channels can also allow you to disseminate product updates, engage with customers, and capitalize on the trend of online research leading to offline purchases. 

The ascent of phygital marketing indicates a transformative era in customer-brand dynamics. Embracing artificial intelligence, immersive technology, social media prowess, and data-driven personalization will be pivotal in navigating the evolving retail landscape. 

To learn more about how to design your own phygital marketing strategy, contact our sales and marketing experts today. 

Subscribe to Clarkston's Insights

  • I'm interested in...
  • Clarkston Consulting requests your information to share our research and content with you.

    You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contributions from Sam Weitzel

Tags: Artificial Intelligence, Sales and Marketing Technology, Digital Strategy, User Experience